“With the fingers falling…freely, the following intervals are produced : a whole tone between the 1st and 2nd fingers, a semitone between the 2nd and 3rd, and a whole tone between the 3rd and the 4th . . . This disposition of the fingers, which describes a perfect fourth between the 1st and 4th fingers, is the natural position of the fingers, and the basis of violin fingering.” — The Principles of Violin Fingering by I. M. Yampolsky, page 25 Adding all four fingers, for me first in Schradieck, is always a challenge for a string player. What I have found quite a few low-level violinists neglect or are unaware of is that the natural frame of the hand should always be mostly-maintained. It is easy, when unaware of this, to allow the wrist with the fingers to pivot to the right to regain a flat position, an easier position for the body, when playing lower fingers, requiring a pivot of the wrist for upper fingers, primarily the 4th. This makes acceptably-accurate intonation almost impossible because of the targets for the fingers becoming further away with more-complex hand motions. The fingers, instead, should stay directly above their natural positions on the violin and fall directly on the strings, sliding up and down the string freely of one another (later introduced in Part II of this book) for chromatics. I spent several days playing erroneously in the lesser way, as I see many other novice and beginner violinists do on IG. Once these corrections were made, not only did my intonation improve tremendously, my tone quality became far better. I am still perfecting the accuracy of my fourth finger (and all fingers as relate to one another, to some degree), as can be expected. But it's closer and closer every day, and it doesn't hurt or strain me to play! I always say technique comes in response to a need, but a musician must learn where and how to respond to their needs. More practice won't cut it. It will only further ingrain irrational technique! Happy soul-searching! P.S. If my squinting bothers you, hmu, and I will let you know which stand light to buy me as a gift! 😀
Hill-style, ebony tailpiece with black, Wittner, E tuner fitted with a gold screw is a success… 😪 The dead spot at D5 on my A string is gone, the overall tone is crystal clear, the G (and all the strings for that matter) has more brilliance, and the E is actually richer. I don't know what possessed me to try a non-standard tailpiece in the harp-style I retired, but at least I can say I learned a valuable lesson. I am really loving how the ebony looks, too, especially with the gold of the tuner screw and gold fittings of my tailpiece! Such a beautiful setup for @larsenstrings
Il Cannone. ☃️ If you haven't tried the new Il Cannone strings, you really need to!
How do you learn to navigate a stringed instrument, in tune, by ear? Lots of practice? The cold part about it is, if you practice playing out of tune by rote, your brain will condition itself to believe out-of-tune playing is in-tune. The colder thing is, listening relatively between pitches means that if one pitch is out of tune, the next pitch will be equally or even more out-of-tune, until you hit an open string. It sticks out in my mind, memories as a singer back in sight-singing and ear training class, how much instrumentalists in the class despised solfège. I had been studying solfège independently with my piano teacher since junior year of high school for singing, and not only did instrumentalists in aural skills hate to sing, since it wasn't their primary instrument, a lot of them really believed solfège was useless in their studies. I even witnessed brass instrumental instructors with performance careers playing slightly out-of-tune at each pitch on concerts. I saw a violin repertoire tutor on YouTube wisely say that if you can't sing it, you can't play it. I particularly find this crucial on the G string, where it's both a thicker string and hardest to reach. In my mind, I am screaming Fa on that C, and I ultimately know exactly where I need to go. While not all music is tonal, stop throwing the baby out with the bath water. By the time you're playing atonal music, you will have plenty of muscle memory and improved relative pitch to enable your efforts! Congratulations to those of you who play in-tune!
The point of my Instagram page has been to track my progress. The last several posts have been extremely-involved with instrument components along with progress videos. As I've dug deeper into studying the second finger, I have begun to address several other areas needing development, in addition. I don't want my Instagram page to be a daily practice log. I want there to be clear contrast in my progress, long-term, and I want it to remain something that even three years from now a person can scroll through without spending 15 minutes browsing two months. Recently, I have been working a significant amount on my right arm posture. Allowing the bow to fall downward with gravity (allowing my pinky to curve more, by default) instead of pointing it upwards with my fingers (a potential source of tension and locking in the wrist) and keeping my forearm straighter and allowing only the wrist break downward instead of the elbow are slowly giving me more control over my bow action. I even notice my tone is much richer, when I keep my elbow back a bit more and from hanging! I have been spending a lot of time in front of a mirror. Keeping good elbow, upper arm, and forearm angles has been a huge discovery process. There is also the importance of finger arch and rotating the hand around the fingerboard in the left hand. I have also discovered that bow hair tightness is crucial to tone quality and timbre! For some reason, no one talks about the effects of bow hair tightness on timbre. If it's too tight, the hair scrapes harshly across the strings. If it's too loose, it doesn't grip effectively. Very minor changes in tension make a world of difference on tone. I do believe videos will start to be posted more-regularly, but I'm hoping these new discoveries will be clear from my other most-recent videos due to my absence!!!! Happy practicing!